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Inside Washington

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Benghazi 7, Susan Rice 6, America 5, Charles Krauthammer 4, Cia 4, Fbi 3, David Petraeus 3, Washington 3, Nina 3, John Boehner 2, Tom Ricks 2, Marco Rubio 2, U.n. 2, Petraeus 2, Boehner 2, Paula Broadwell 2, Afghanistan 2, Colby 2, Hindsight 1, Condoleezza Rice 1,
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  WETA    Inside Washington    News/Business. Round-table  
   discussions feature journalists. (CC)  

    November 16, 2012
    8:30 - 9:00pm EST  

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>> what do you think of when you see at treat? a treatment for cancer? alternative fuel for our cars? do you think of hope for the environment, or food, clothing, shelter? we do. weyerhaeuser, growing ideas. >> i have no evidence at this point from what i have seen that classified information was disclosed. >> this week on "inside washington," a sex scandal at the top of the cia. the benghazi blame game. >> the american people deserve to know the facts. we cannot ever let this happen again. >> why would susan rice not get
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our vote? i don't trust her. >> defending susan rice. >> if senator mccain and senator graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me. >> there are no barriers to sitting down and beginning to work through this process. >> as the fiscal cliff loans, is there a deal in the works? mitt romney explains why he lost. >> the president's campaign focused on certain members of his base coalition, give them extraordinary financial gifts from the government, and worked very aggressively to turn them out to vote. captioned by the national captioning institute --www.ncicap.org-- >> well, i just don't know where to begin this week. do we talk about republican
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charges of a cover-up with regard to the attack in benghazi? do we talk about sexual liaisons and e-mails? to talk about israel and gaza, the possibility of the fiscal cliff? let's start with the sex. [laughter] cia director resigns after the fbi uncovers e-mails showing that general david petraeus had an extramarital affair with his biographer, paula broadwell, a married mother of two. talk about unlimited access. the general was up on capitol hill talking about the benghazi hearings as we were recording this program, so we don't know what he said yet. >> we are safer because of the work that gave petraeus has main hope right now is that he and his family are able to move on and this
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ends up being a single side note on what has otherwise been an extraordinary career. >> extraordinary career. david petraeus is a highly decorated four-star army general with a ph.d. from princeton university. roger, you have been around for awhile. how does a smart guy like that get into a mess like this? >> i think you said it, let's get to the sex. he is america's spymaster, aside from all the other degrees and all that. he is running the cia. but he decides to conduct an affair through a gmail account, because, gosh, nobody can get access to that except maybe any 12-year-old in america. and his paramour, she has a master's degree from harvard, also of west point grad, and she decides, allegedly, to send a threatening e-mails to all woman in florida who may also be going
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after david petraeus, and she sends these also through a gmail account. and now they are shocked that they got caught. this is dumb and dumber. >> colby, you have a military and national security experience. your thoughts on this? >> war is hell, and obviously it has taken its toll on some of our top generals. look, nothing that general petraeus has done will detract from his record. what happened is still a little confusing. the investigation done by the fbi, and they determined that there was no question of loyalty or national security compromise. and they stopped. there is another aspect to this, the whole question of suitability in conduct. you can be a patriot, but if you are habitually to excess, that
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can be a problem with access to classified material. somebody has got to make a suitability decision without conduct. the justice department withheld that, and i don't understand why they did. >> margaret? >> usually these affairs are down clandestinely until they are not. love is fleeting, gmail isn't. we should all know that. we are addicted to e-mail and we put things in it that we don't want scene, but we hold the cia director to a higher standard. but i wonder if the standard we are holding some of our military and political figures to isn't a somewhat too elevated now as opposed to private citizens. divorce is selling in the military. these deployments are hard on families. people are weak. we are all stupid in the throes of romantic affair. do we want to get rid of people
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like general petraeus when there is no national security breach. the person who should be fired is that fbi agent, and all the people who let that go up the chain of command. >> what do you make of that, nina? >> well, i hope his career is ruined, because in the normal course of events, human beings are frail. if we get rid of every person in government who has an illicit affair, we will lose some of the best people around, even though we don't like their private conduct. let me just finish. but having said that, in the normal course of events, if you are worried about a compromise of national security, you investigate did you find out there has not been a compromise of national security, you call and the general, you read him the riot act, everybody knows, he cannot be blackmailed, and it stays at home, it does not go out to the public. >> do we know that national
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security has not been compromised? >> no, we don't know, because more records have been taken from paula broadwell's house. let me address just one thing, the whole theme of the flesh is weak. the flesh is weak, but certain people have to be strong. this general john allen, who has taken over petraeus' job in afghanistan, may have sent 30,000 pages of e-mail to this tampa socialite -- >> or not. >> there is an interesting term, "tampa socialite." general allen is in charge of the fate of 82,000 u.s. troops. he does not have the time to -- >> well, i don't know about that. i don't know the content of those e-mails. i don't know those things. we don't know the nature of that relationship.
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this is a different relationship between allen and jill kelley and petraeus and broadwell. >> nina, why did the justice department tell the white house what was going on? -- why didn't the justice department tell the white house what was going on? >> if they had we would all be screaming cover-up. one of the things griffin bell insisted on is that he be told when a high level people were under investigation but he did not tell the president. the whole point was to have an honest investigation without compromising the president or the investigation. >> margaret, there was an election going hundron. >> there was, and i agree with nina. you have to be careful not to put yourself in the position of the cover-up. what is conduct worthy of blackmail? the director of national intelligence, what we all say it
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is. there is this addvicious circle. petraeus to be blackmailed by it if he could be fired by it. >> in the defense of the fbi agent, he just thought he was doing his duty -- >> he is sure this and he goes to a congressman because he doesn't think -- he is shirtless he goes to a congressman -- >> only person who comes out of this looking really good is eric cantor -- >> no, no, no, absolutely not! absolutely not. eric cantor was given the information and he should have talked to the leader, he should have talked to the chairman of the oversight committee. why did he sit on it? >> he didn't sit on it! >> he did sit on it. he clammed up. >> let me go back to general allen, the marine force corporate he was in line for a big promotion.
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now he is twisting in the wind. leon panetta says we are just putting this on hold until it gets sorted out. what about this guy? >> we don't now. apparently he said at minimum flirtatious e-mails with this woman. people who talked to him said there was no a fair -- >> half of all e-mail is for flotation. > we do -- flirtation. >> to me it is not the content of the e-mails. the figure being bandied about is pretty thousand e-mails or 30,000 pages of e-mail. >> my producers says that is 10 years of "inside washington" scripts. >> i am willing to cut some slack on fooling around. this guy has an important job to
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do. he has got men and women in the field, in combat -- >> i do think -- >> you got to give the guy a break. >> i don't know if that 20,000 to 30,000 number will hold up. got -- we cc's he don't know anything about that. we do know that his record is good, it's solid, its sound. i want to go to another think we did have a discussion about, standards. standards change over time. there was a time that if you were gay, they said you were a security risk. they got rid of that. it was a canard at the time. the same thing is true adulterous relationships and that is -- >> but that is on the books as a
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violation of military justice -- >> i'm sorry, colby. gay rights is not a standard. it is a human right. >> absolutely -- >> holding someone to the standard of doing your job instead of fooling around on company time, that is a standard. >> there are corporations that don't allow you to do personal e-mails. that is a lot of time to spend not fighting the war. >> the guy is in a hell hole! >> tom ricks said that you are 04 times deployed, you don't get any time on, your standard of conduct -- >> tom ricks was on our air, and a host -- >> great military writer. >> the host said, "you have known and general petraeus for a long time. were you surprised?"
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"i'm completely surprised, and i cannot help but think that having four or five tours of afghanistan and then being cia director and the isolation that accompanies that is not in some way responsible for clank in the brain." >> let's say that petraeus could have chosen his biographer. it could be walter isaacson -- >> or tom ricks. >> a woman walks up to you at a lecture it dinner and says, "i want to do some research on you," which i guess was a euphemism. and then he proceeds to give her incredible access. i don't want to be one of these people who blames the woman, but there is no need for match.com if i can go around in my job and say, "can i write a book about you," and that is how i am introduced. it was so foolish of him.
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>> what was foolish? >> first of all, an inexperienced person -- she is not a biographer could come on, colby. giving her all that access, i'm sorry -- >> is the obama administration guilty of a cover-up in the benghazi attack? >> the reason i don't trust her is i think she knew better and if she knew better, she should not be the voice of america. >> for them to go after the u.n. ambassador who had nothing to do with benghazi, simply making a presentation based on intelligence she had received, to be smartrip reputati -- to besmirch her reputation, is outrageous. >> they are talking about un ambassador susan rice, who could be the president's nomination to be secretary of state. they're talking about her appearance on talk shows on september 16 following the attacks in benghazi. charles krauthammer, our friend, is off this week -- i think he
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is in miami traveling -- has been hammering at this for weeks. he says it was up phony political cover story during the election. >> we don't know yet paid may be the intelligence commun -- don't know yet. maybe the intelligence committees have some notion, but we don't know yet. it seems like there were 85 things going on at once. i am not clear on what happened. >> according to some members of the house committee, petraeus told them on friday that the cia talking points were written after the attack on benghazi. they refer to it as a terrorist attack, but petraeus reportedly said that the reference was removed by other agencies that make changes in the draft. >> i don't see this as the central question, whether for 24 said it was a response to an attack in
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response to a movie, no, it wasn't -- the question was, should the consulate, not an embassy, but a conflict, have been prepared for the attack? second, did the president or anyone else ordered defense forces to stand down and not miss you -- not rescue those people? >> but what do you have instead? you have two united states senators wailing on the u.n. ambassador. one is saying, "i don't trust her." what happened when the secretary of state went before the united nations and laid out this case -- >> condoleezza rice. >> no, no. secretary of state colin powell played out his case for weapons of mass destruction, and there was nothing in there. did those senators say, "we don't trust him, i would never vote for him"? >> in fact, when it was
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secretary of state condoleezza rice, they supported her lying on the diligence at hand, which is what susan rice did. > -- relying on the intelligence and hand, which is what susan rice did. nothing about this show here, but what susan rice said on a talk show become the focus of their attention? >> representative dana rohrabacher -- "what is clear that it is that the administration and the president himself has misinformed -- read 'lied' -- the public." >> where is the proof? >> the president needs reasons for drones and keeping up the war are everywhere is the payoff? >> cynical political fact. >> -- political attack. >> are they trying to turn it
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into watergate? >> they are trying to turn it into anything. john mccain put sarah palin a heartbeat away from the presidency but he will not vote for susan rice because he does not trust her. it is absurd. >> i agree with everything said, but i remember watching those shows contemporaneously, and i remember thinking to myself, how does she know so assuredly? there is almost a battle tone to it that in hindsight -- >> you read the transcript of her interview with bob schieffer and there are caveats all through that -- "based on what we have now." she was working from talking points. is she the person i would have sent out? i am not sure, but she was working from talking points by the administration. >> you are not dissatisfied charles krauthammer without one. -- not going to satisfy charles krauthammer with that -- you are not going to satisfy charles
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krauthammer with that one. >> i will try, for goodness' sake. [laughter] >> i am open to compromise and new ideas. >> i think the spirit of cooperation you have seen over the last week from myself, my team, democrats across the aisle, the president, has created an atmosphere where i remain optimistic. >> isn't that nice? [laughter] >> could it be peace is at hand in the republican caucus? boehner is listening to others, like all the republican governors this week, and bill kristol and others are saying do we really want to be the party -- defending eleva tax cuts for people with car elevators? if i were obama, i would get them in a room and keep them there.
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>> but it is interesting when you watch what is going on right now. obama does this very nice balance between "i am open to everything, but i am drawing one red line for millionaires --" >> i don't hear him changing on that. >> he is not. the ones who are being really tough for the democrats in the house and the senate. they are the ones doing the public posturing for him. >> i think also that john boehner does not have a strong hand. he has got a caucus that has dug in its heels on any kind of compromise. i saw this picture of john boehner, this cartoon character, holding a football and saying to president obama "trust me." >> there was an election on november 6 and the democrats did not do that badly.
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who is here? >> everybody has got to give. >> it really is true. you cannot tax your way out of this debt, you cannot slash expenses and get out of this in debt. you have got to do both. >> somewhat gradually. >> the president seems to be offering a two-for-one deal -- for every $1 of tax increase, he will cut expenses by $2. simpson-bowles wanted a one-to-3 ratio. the republicans want zero. >> but they have the business community that does not want us to go for the cliff -- >> if you use a different language, are there republicans amenable to an increase in taxes -- >> use the word "revenue." >> nancy pelosi took the
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position, a good negotiating position, that it ought to be $1 million to hundred $50,000. another -- and not $250,000 bid another suggestion, $500,000. that is where the movement is going to come, on that number. . >> nibbling at the edges. >> i now, but that is where the movement comes. >> is there a deal behind closed doors we don't know about? >> i don't think so. public posturing at this point. >> the tea party is not as strong as it was. the members who came back won gerrymandered districts, but speaker boehner has more control of his caucus this time. >> mitt romney explains why he lost the election. >> the president gave them a big gift on immigration with the dream act and the amnesty program. number two, put in place
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obamacare, which is basically $10,000 a family. >> there is mitt romney extending to its biggest donors why he lost the election. gov. bobby jindal, chris christie, they don't like that kind of talk. >> well, because it is politically suicidal. every once in awhile i say to myself, you are an idiot. every time you think, maybe he misspoke with a 47% and we are doing him a disservice. no that is what he meant and he said it again. >> towards the end of the campaign he was -- >> much more magnanimous. >> is a question of trust, and people realized early on that mitt romney was not someone you could trust. paul ryan did the same thing with the top of it takers and givers.
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he just confirmed that that is who he is, a plutocrat. >> where is the republican party go from here? does it need to rebuild? >> yes, it needs to rebuild. mitt romney and the republicans have become the rip van winkle party, they have awakened from their slumber to find that their black and brown people in america, young people, jews and asians, and somehow they have all but given the vote. how did this happen? well, they were bribed, given gifts instead of corporations and banks getting gifts. >> and they are all special interest groups, not really part of the whole. these strange interest groups, like young people getting some relief -- >> but you have responsible republicans saying that we have got to reach out more to hispanics -- >> senator marco rubio said yesterday, "i don't know these
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people who don't want to work." these governors, republican governors, if you are in a gerrymandered house district, you can keep with the 47%. if you are a senator like marco rubio or somebody with presidential aspirations, you cannot keep saying this about people. >> it will take more than cosmetics or 4 wolfe street it is policy. that is what they have to come to grips -- it will take more than cosmetics or photo ops. it is policy. that is what they have to come to grips with it. their policies don't wash with people, the people in need to reach. >> it worked in 2010. it could work again in 2014. i would not write them off entirely. >> i am not writing them off, but the first thing to do is to get the immigration reform bill -- >> jan brewers in their party. >> you get the last word. see you next week.
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>> "inside washington" is brought you in part by the american federation of government employees, proud to make america work. for more information about afge and membership, visit afge.org.
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